Cover all your bases before spending on tools and people
Getting started with a lead generation strategy requires a certain level of readiness, especially if you are a business marketing to businesses (B2B). But, being “ready” for lead and demand generation goes far beyond getting a Salesforce.com license and a MailChimp account or Constant Contact account. Certainly, those are two of the most necessary tools – salesforce automation and email service provider – that can help manage leads and communicate, but there is so much more to consider, think about, decide upon, and put into place to ensure success.
This blog series is about simply assessing whether you’re ready to do some marketing lead and demand generation. This is important, because I’ve been in many roles and freelance projects where the company lacked resources or the product itself just wasn’t ready to attract and keep customers. My goal is to outline the important items to have ready before jumping head first into spending money on platforms or people. Or, you may choose to just hire a marketer to tackle all these things for you, in which case you’ll want to have a budget prepared to support it. Personally, I love building it from the ground up, because I know it’ll be built right. Either way, this will give you an idea of what a program may look like.
Before hiring a marketer, a team, or even signing on the dotted line for any technology services, I believe it’s a smart move to first assess your readiness to begin driving leads with which to do demand generation. Note I referenced both, there is a distinct difference between lead generation and demand generation. You may learn more about the difference on the recent blog post, “Driving Leads vs. Generating Demand for Small B2B Businesses.”
The following can be used as a checklist or a guide to hold a planning session with your leaders to dive into every major component, so you come out on the other side with a launch plan upon which everyone agrees.
Regardless, taking a look at each of these areas may surface gaps that, if not addressed, could cause a lot of stops, starts, delays, and mediocre attempts that derail your effort down the road – not to mention strain or waste your budget. As ready as you feel you are, doing this may uncover a few ducks left to get in a row before spending any hard cash.
Whether you decide to hire a marketer or not, what follows is a helpful list of the 13 most important things you should have in place if you want to start generating leads and implement a demand generation strategy (and culture!) for your organization. At a minimum, this will help uncover where your marketer, if you decide to hire, may need to start when it comes to basic preparation.
For this first entry, I will list the top 13 that I, from experience, feel need to be in place before spending any money to run a lead generation campaign, or even hiring a bunch of people to run campaigns. Due to the length already, I’ll stop with the list and continue in Part 2 with Section 1: Product, Customer, & Message. As each part is launched, I’ll link the section header to the entry.
A Solid Marketing Demand Generation Practice – 7 Areas to Prepare
Section 1: Product, Customer, & Message
- Minimum Viable Product
- Know Your Target Market and the Profile of your Best Customers
- Offer A Reason to Believe – For Your Target Market
- A Message to Support Your Claims
Section 2: Baseline Marketing Assets
- A Decent, Easy to Use Website – Make it Easy to do Business with You
- Can You be Found by those Seeking?
- Good Optimized Content
Section 3: Resources – Who Will You Need to Help?
- Sales Resources
- Technical Resource(s)
- Creative Resource or Agency
Section 4: Budget, Goals, & KPIs
- Goals – What Does Success Look Like?
- Define KPI’s – Key Performance Indicators
Section 5: Tools of the Trade
- Customer Relationship Management Tool (CRM)
- Email Service Provider (ESP)
- Marketing Automation, if You Must (not necessary in early stages, IMHO)
To dig into each of these areas, start with the next entry, “Section 1: Product, Customer, & Message.”